Some of the things I know for sure at the start of this journey I will find foolish and completely wrong at the end. – me
The main plan is to Do Things I Enjoy! More specifically, to do a monthly project involving something I have lost touch with that I used to enjoy in the past. As I thought about what things would be good for a project like this, many of them just fell into place serendipitously. For instance, hiking, photography, building electronics, computer programming, road trip, and fixing cars just seem to go together so naturally! Don’t they? Maybe? I think they do, but maybe only for me, and here is why: I need to fix my car so I can take a road trip to a cool place to go hiking and shoot photos using my new solar powered USB charger and the iPhone app I made. Scoff if you must, but I think it makes sense.
If you can’t live life on the edge, redefine the boundaries! – me
I thought about including exciting things I’ve seen others do, like RVing across the country, skydiving, backpacking the AT, and snowboarding, but realistically my situation right now is this: I’m a single parent with a spine injury. I have an 11 year old who is always with me and we live on a teacher’s salary. Rather than look at things that are just a bit out of my zone right now, I chose to stick with creative things that I know for sure I can actually do, given my current situation. Dreaming is great fun, but actually doing something is the goal here! I’ll save the more extravagant outings for the bucket list.
Observe always that everything is the result of change, and get used to thinking that there is nothing Nature loves so well as to change existing forms and make new ones of them. – Marcus Aurelius
So this plan is going to change. That is part of the plan. It will change as I change and as the world changes. Each of these things will have hurdles and some ways will prove inefficient. In addition, some of the things I plan to do, I cannot do now. I either do not know how or I am not proficient enough to succeed. These factors will partially determine what month I setup each of the activities. I’m oh so tempted to make a chart or something, but I’ll resist. So here is the list with notes:
- Drawing – I used to love drawing. I recently bought some basic supplies and I can draw anytime, but to make an interesting project that feels like an accomplishment, I really need to practice quite a bit. It has been over 20 years since I did any drawing. So the official project will require free time to think and time to practice. This means that I need to put it on a holiday month or summer break and late in the year.
- Computer Programming – I could write a computer program right now, but it would be in BASIC, Pascal, or Fortran-77. Those are the computer languages I have used before, and none of them are really used for anything useful in my life now. To make something useful, I need to learn to program an app of some sort, I think. I have signed up for the Apple IOS developer’s website and have the SDK downloaded, but this is another one that will take some time to adjust to. I would, however, like to have it done before the road trip so that whatever I make will travel with me.
- Playing guitar or bass – OK, really, this I can do any time I want. If only I had a guitar! So buying a bass or guitar at some point would be a good idea =) Early in the year would be good for this one so I can enjoy it more throughout the year.
- Fixing cars – Well I fixed cars for 15 years, so I think this is another one that I can do about any time I want. I might have to buy a few tools if I end up doing something specialized, but I have most of the basics. I have a few things in mind that need doing, but they aren’t really grand projects.
- Cycling – I used to ride 40 miles a day when I was in high school, but I don’t even own a bike anymore. I bought one about 5 years ago to try to get into it again, but my back hurt a lot and the bike was stolen soon after. I figured the universe was trying to tell me to take it easy a bit longer. It would be really perfect if me and my son both had bikes to ride together. Early in the year for this one.
- Hiking – After 10 years of pain and suffering, which is a good story in itself, I am finally at the point where I can walk for exercise and not have my legs tingling, cramping, or weak. My back has been holding up strong for a record 2 months with no pain. I have gradually increased the distance I walked and I’m pleasantly surprised. Do spinal injuries just spontaneously heal after 10 years? Maybe I’m just lucky? Do all the stretches and PT actually work, but only after many years? I don’t know, but I’m finally free to move around!!!! Starting this very early in the year.
- Photography – This has been my most recent 30 day project and I’m liking getting back into photos. As a project, I really want to have somewhere different to take photos of. I have a vision of a spring break trip to Arizona (the closest Whataburger) and something interesting about Arizona is they keep the light pollution very low. At night, you can see the stars in amazing detail. Anyone who has lived in even a small city would be amazed at how much more you can see out there? So … spring break – ish.
- Learning something completely new! – what in the world was I thinking … I’ll trust my creativity and instinct to lead me to this one at the right time! Part of being a good teacher is remembering the experience of really learning something brand new. The feeling of being ignorant, unsure, and clumsy once in a while is really good for the soul.
- Baking (yes, like bread and cookies!) – well, duh, Christmas cookies … this one should be either Nov or Dec I think
- Road Trip! – every month!!! But really, summer break I’d love to go back to Texas again. If that isn’t in the financial cards, I’ll adjust.
- Building something electronic – I have a good plan (I think!) for a solar powered USB port / iPhone charger. I gotta say that I love having my iPhone with me when I’m walking. It has GPS, my music (!!!), and a pedometer to track my progress. The problem, of course, is the battery is a battery and once the electrons move I have no way to encourage them to move back. I would love to be able to go hiking and not worry about that. This should be a very early project in the year so I can use it a lot.
- Writing a novel in a month! – well, by definition, this really has to be in November. I’ve read a bit about these projects on nanowrimo.org and other places. I thought about doing one in 2011 as a project, but I just wasn’t at all in the full steam of creativity yet. I’ve had some interesting stories in my head for years and I’d love to write one sometime.
… Must … make … chart …
I couldn’t resist making a visual to go along with all this. The culmination of all this furious activity is the chart shown in the picture at the beginning. I just love charts. The ones colored green I’m calling for sure. The yellow ones are probably going to move around a bit or change as I see how it all fits.
If you read down this far, you are more patient than me! Some of the links below have inspired me to think more about what I do and what I plan to do. Please leave a comment with ideas or suggestions. I’m definitely open to changes as the year goes on …
- Everyone is creative … even you. (Sir Ken Robinson) (audio interview from thekathleenshow.com)
- John Cleese on Creativity (YouTube video from World Creativity Forum)
- Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us (beautiful YouTube video of a Dan Pink talk with animation from RSA animate)
- Ideas worth spreading (iamdollywilliams.wordpress.com)
- Write a novel in a month! (nanowrimo.org)